A dicrotic pulse is a type of pulse characterized by a percussion wave in systole and a prominent dicrotic wave in diastole. Physiologically, the dicrotic wave is the result of reflected waves from the lower extremities and aorta.
Conditions associated with low cardiac output and high systemic vascular resistance can produce a dicrotic pulse. Moreover, conditions associated with low systemic vascular resistance and a compliant aorta (e.g. sepsis) can also produce a dicrotic pulse, although the mechanism is not entirely understood.
In contrast to an anacrotic or bisferiens pulse, the 2 peaks in a dicrotic pulse occur in systole and diastole (as opposed to both occurring in systole).